December 4, 2008 The concept of incorporating secondary last-few-miles transport in a motorhome starts with a fold-up bicycle, steps upwards through a motorcycle riding piggyback and we’ve occasionally seen a full blown car being towed behind the largest beasties. So we were blown away when we saw the latest from German Motorhome specialist Volkner Mobil at the recent Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf. Volkner has been using CAD for more than two decades in tailoring its extraordinary high-end vehicles for those who insist in living in luxury no matter what. In order to fully cater for this elite clientele, it has created (and patented) a central garage concept that allows a luxury sports car to be ingested by the bohemoth, so that when you get there, you'll want for nothing (check out the gallery). Volkner began been building the motorized garage into its high end Performance models in late 2006 and has now built motorhomes capable of swallowing whole Porsche 911s, Jaguar XK8 Cabriolets, BMW 6 Series Cabriolets, Maserati Quattroportes and this Mercedes Sports.
The electrohydraulically extendable car draft used to gently lift the car inside its snug metallic womb can be used to also load, stow and unload other gear such as an entire kitchen setting and apparently several customers have opted to have the draft tiled so that when extended, it can be used as a comfortable terrace for el fresco dining anywhere you might choose. There’s also an integrated blind and an extendable gas grill.
The gourmet internal kitchen has only one glaring weakness – there is no built-in chef. The large work surfaces can be appointed in granite, the cupboards and cabinets would do any pharmacist proud, and there’s nothing missing in terms of cooking facilities (there’s a microwave , a baking-oven and a dishwasher) and the inclusion of a washing machine for clothes means that even if you do go completely bush, you’ll want for nothing.
We could go on and on – the bathroom is fitted with a massage shower equipped with several programs and the vehicle's under-floor heating even covers the shower floor so that if you choose to live temporarily in a very cold climate, your tootsies won’t get cold when you have your morning shower. The bathroom can be created from any of the common luxury materials such as ceramic, granite, marble … and there are heated towel racks and an integrated vehicle-wide sound system.
If you haven’t gathered by now, the Volkner Mobil Performance, which is the flagship of the company’s offerings, is a vehicle of superlative appointment and functionality.
Most appealing of all, the Performance can be fitted for complete off-the-grid luxury living in quite remote locations – it can carry 1000 litres of fresh water and fitted with a 1360 Ah battery.
In the propulsion department, the vehicle can be fitted with a 338 KW (460 bhp) engine and comes standard with the company’s i-SHIFT gear. Everything an unreasonable person could reasonably expect is available, and almost any configuration can be supplied, any décor or materials can be provided and for the driver, the dashboard looks like it has been lifted from an AirBus and the seat comes with pneumatic cushioning and level control designed specifically to match with the Performance's independent suspension.
In regard to storage, you can probably take along anything else you might need – including all the clothes and gear you might need for any situation, not to mention a Mercedes (or Porsche) sports car for comfortable transport in any location.
The price varies with the features and functionality … but the old adage applies. If you have to ask how much it costs, you probably can’t afford it.